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LETTERS / Vendor Railroaded From Watauga County Farmers Market

Dear Editor,

To those of you who attended the Watauga County Farmers Market over the past few weeks and were looking for Christian Teague and his beautiful plants, you may wonder why he was not in attendance as a vendor. As his wife, I feel the need to make the reasons public record. Sometime last year, the Market Board first banned all electronic devices, and without notifying the vendors in writing even called the police when Christian from Hickory Lane Gardens showed up with his weekly Power Point Presentation that educates the public about the mission of our perennial plant farm and demonstrates the possibilities for local garden creations by Christian. Next, the Board considered Christian’s application incomplete because he failed to sign a statement that he would relocate his vendor space. It became apparent after careful investigation and was discussed at the Town Council Meeting in April that neither the Town of Boone nor the Southern Appalachian Historical Association had any problem with this space being used, but that the present Market President had failed to include the space when he had re-written the lease agreement between the Market and SAHA. It appears to me and many others that the Watauga County Farmers Market had done its best to “run off” Christian Teague from the Market, earlier stated by a fellow vendor.

 When he arrived on the first Saturday morning willing to occupy another space, he was told that he would not be a vendor. Not only that, he received a warning for trespassing as he spoke nicely with his friends and other patrons even though he had NEVER been told he could not be there. Sadly, he has done a great deal of work to benefit the Market over the past ten years. Christian LOVES the Farmer’s Market! While others have not been privy to what I have seen, I have observed a man who has wept and been broken by this loss!

 Further, banning electronics and finding a way to remove Christian Teague from his vendor space directly affects our family’s income and places a direct threat on the stability of our perennial plant farm. You would think that the Market would be invested in farmers in the area, but they appear to care less.

 I am asking those who read this to share it with others and get in touch with Mr. Bill Moretz, Market President to discuss your feelings regarding the Market politics that have railroaded my husband out of a Market that he has attended regularly for ten years. I am personally frustrated with their actions and with the practices of the Market Board, who appear to be more focused on petty rules than the success of the local farmer. I am also concerned about the future business of our farm, given the inaccessibility to the Market as a vendor. Until this matter is resolved and Christian is again a vendor at the Market, you can find him at Veggies, Fruits, & More on the corner of State Farm Road and Highway 105 Extension, below Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance.



 Heather A. Teague

Wife of Christian Teague